Nails can be a good indicator of problems, not only aesthetic, but also, and most importantly, health problems. Thus, it is important to know how to differentiate nail symptoms in order to prevent diseases.
Stretch marks on the nails
Nail grooves can be of two types:
- Longitudinal: they are one of the first reasons for consultation in Dermatology. They usually appear with age, from about 60 years of age, and have a hereditary origin, but have no pathological significance. Currently, although there is no specific and effective treatment, it can improve with topical measures applied.
- Transverse or “Beau’s lines”: these are caused by an alteration in the growth of the nail, usually due to acute fevers, nutritional alterations, cytotoxic drugs or serious diseases.
Soft and weak nails
In this case, the nails can be:
- Thin and without consistency: they can be caused by chronic diseases, rheumatic, anemia, among others.
- With onicerresis: they break easily or have a small crack. It usually occurs by repeatedly putting the hands in water, especially after a certain age.
Separation of the nails by layers
This problem, called lamellar onychoschisis, occurs after the age of 50-60 and is also due to excessive contact of the hands with water.
This may be due to nail polish abuse, bacterial or fungal infections or psoriasis (a skin disease that causes flaking and inflammation).
Occurs when the nail digs into the flesh and causes inflammation. This pathology is usually associated with young people and its cause is mainly hereditary and traumatic.
To treat it, it is recommended to wear a less tight shoe that does not end in a point; do not trim the tips of the big toenail, but leave the edges and cut it square; wet a cotton ball with antiseptic and place it on the edges (between the nail and the flesh); it is also advisable to leave the white part of the nail 1 mm long.
Nail fungus or mycosis (onychomycosis) is the most frequent, but not the only cause of nail diseases, as people generally think. The main signs of fungus are:
- Distal color change: a yellowish or whitish area may appear on the white part of the nail.
- Hyperkeratosis: separation of the nail by thickening in some areas of the nail.
- Dust under the nail.
These three factors can occur together or in isolation, although they do not necessarily mean that they are caused by fungi in all cases.
Microtrauma to the nails
It is usually caused by the pressure of footwear or by practicing some aggressive sports, such as running or playing tennis. It is characterized by purplish or yellowish streaks on the nails and its only consequence is aesthetic. The problem disappears by abandoning that habit or sport.
White spots on the nails
It is generally thought that they are due to a lack of calcium, but this statement is false. In reality, small white spots on the nails are only due to slight microtraumas near the cuticle (lower part of the nail), caused by gestures as simple as putting your hands in your pockets while wearing tight pants.
On the other hand, if the white spots are large, it may be an indication of kidney failure or cirrhosis.
Nail biting, also called onychophagia, not only generates aesthetic problems, but can also alter the shape of the teeth and affect the health of the nails, as they do not grow well and microtrauma is created. In addition, small wounds form around the nail and cause inflammation and pain in the finger.
Lack of protein in the nails
When nails are weak, it is not due to a lack of calcium, but of proteins, so by following a correct diet with the help of a nutricosmetic diet for hair and nails, the problem can be solved.